The Youth Enterprise Support (YES), an initiative of President John Mahama, has budgeted GH¢4 million to support the business start-ups of the first batch of 107 beneficiaries of the programme.
The Chief Executive Officer of YES, Ms Helga Boadi, who announced this at a news conference in Accra on Monday, said besides the financial investments, the beneficiaries would be provided technical support by a team of experts.
“We will be monitoring and evaluating closely to ensure that the support given them is utilised well. We will be like shadows behind them. They take a step and we are there. The fact that we have given them support will not mean that we would sit down and wait untill they turn things around. We will be with them,” she said.
Ms Boadi said the support to the beneficiaries would vary depending on the type of the start-up, as well as its financial requirements, and pointed out that YES would partner the businesses closely to ensure that the investments did not go waste.
She said the beneficiaries would repay the amount based on agreed repayment plans and on schedule but without interest.
“We are not slapping any stringent repayment plan on them. Repayment would be based on agreed schedules by both parties. We have our finance team working with them on that,” she said and added that the programme was a revolving fund which would be used to support other beneficiaries in the future.
She said the beneficiaries had guarantors whom YES could fall on, in the event of any challenge or misunderstanding.
Ms Boadi said the beneficiaries were selected from 2,048 applicants nationwide, based on the viability of their businesses, passion for the business, knowledge in the area of business, willingness to submit to checks and follow laid down procedures and processes of YES.
“The sector breakdown of the 107 successful beneficiaries is 68 in agriculture and agribusiness, 36 in services and three in cottage industries,” she said and noted that the second batch of 350 applicants from the first call would present and defend their proposals.
She was, however, confident that the programme would be continued in the future by successive governments, irrespective of the political party in power, because the right structures had been put in place to ensure its sustainability.
YES, she said, intended opening regional offices by the end of October, in order to expand its scope to support more young entrepreneurs.
Ms Boadi said the YES programme was not another mass handout of free money but was “a strategically targeted youth intervention that aims to identify and support exceptional entrepreneurial potential”.
By Yaw Kyei